Support our mission
 
Brig. Gen. James Smith, the incoming leader of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, takes the unit colors from U.S. Army Europe and Africa commander Gen. Christopher Cavoli at the 21st TSCs change of command ceremony at Daenner Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021. At right is the outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan.
Brig. Gen. James Smith, the incoming leader of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, takes the unit colors from U.S. Army Europe and Africa commander Gen. Christopher Cavoli at the 21st TSCs change of command ceremony at Daenner Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021. At right is the outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Brig. Gen. James M. Smith took command Tuesday of the U.S. Army’s largest sustainment command overseas, which has expanded the service's reach across the Continent while navigating the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic.

Smith replaces Maj. Gen. Christopher O. Mohan, who during his two years at the helm of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command helped orchestrate the movement of Army troops and equipment, gained additional access to ports and led some 11,000 soldiers and civilians.

“You’ve worked hand and glove with both NATO and the European Union to improve our ability to move equipment and vehicles across borders with increased speed,” Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, commander of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, said of Mohan.

Outgoing commander of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan, left, and the incoming commander, Brig. Gen. James Smith, flank U.S. Army Europe and Africa commander Gen. Christopher Cavoli as they march off the field at Daenner Kaserne in Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021.
Outgoing commander of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan, left, and the incoming commander, Brig. Gen. James Smith, flank U.S. Army Europe and Africa commander Gen. Christopher Cavoli as they march off the field at Daenner Kaserne in Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

The 21st TSC is the backbone in Europe of a Pentagon strategy to keep adversaries off balance by rapidly and unpredictably moving troops and equipment from the United States. The Continent has seen one of the largest influxes of forces and hardware since the end of the Cold War, a response to increased Russian military activity in the region.

This spring, the Army transported equipment through Dunkirk, France, “for the first time in decades,” Cavoli said. Last month, the command for the first time in 60 years unloaded fuel and heavy vehicles from a ship moored off Durres, Albania, and brought it to shore, Cavoli said.

“The most amazing thing is about three quarters of this you got done during (a pandemic) that tested our ability to remain ready under adverse conditions,” he said.

Mohan next week will take over the U.S. Army Sustainment Command in Rock Island, Ill., an assignment that has typically been the next stop for outgoing 21st TSC commanders.

The outgoing commander of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan, gives his farewell speech after turning over command to Brig. Gen. James Smith at Daenner Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021.
The outgoing commander of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan, gives his farewell speech after turning over command to Brig. Gen. James Smith at Daenner Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

He thanked those assembled on the parade field at Daenner Kaserne for their leadership and service. There wasn’t time to recount all the command has achieved, Mohan said.

“I will just say this: ‘If it’s happening in Europe, Team 21 either coordinated it, planned it, executed it or is executing right now. Simply put, you guys are the best.”

Mohan advised Smith to enjoy every second of his tour, “because, trust me, it will be gone before you know it. You have the best mission, the best boss and the best teammates.”

Smith, who commissioned into the Army in 1992 after graduating from Christopher Newport University in Virginia, comes to Germany from Fort Lee, Va., where he was the chief of transportation and commandant for the U.S. Army Transportation School and U.S. Army Sustainment Center of Excellence.

Smith said he was looking forward to leading “such a fantastic and storied organization.”

svan.jennifer@stripes.com

Twitter: @stripesktown

The color guard and soldiers of the 21st Theater Sustainment command stand on the Daener Kaserne parade ground during the unit’s change of command ceremony at Daenner Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021.
The color guard and soldiers of the 21st Theater Sustainment command stand on the Daener Kaserne parade ground during the unit’s change of command ceremony at Daenner Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
U.S. Army Europe and Africa commander Gen. Christopher Cavoli listens to the outgoing commander of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan, give his farewell speech after turning over command of the 21st TSC to Brig. Gen. James Smith at Daenner Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021.
U.S. Army Europe and Africa commander Gen. Christopher Cavoli listens to the outgoing commander of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan, give his farewell speech after turning over command of the 21st TSC to Brig. Gen. James Smith at Daenner Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)
The U.S. Army Europe and Africa Band plays at the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s change of command ceremony at Daenner Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021. Brig. Gen. James Smith took command from Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan at the ceremony.
The U.S. Army Europe and Africa Band plays at the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s change of command ceremony at Daenner Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, Germany, June 8, 2021. Brig. Gen. James Smith took command from Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan at the ceremony. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up